Sunday June 11th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the butterfly catcher.

Busy day. Helped put the nets on the cherry trees this morning. Picked strawberries that went unpicked at yesterday's U-Pick this afternoon. Mowed the lawn this evening.

Ready for rest now.


Catcher? I am no mere butterfly catcher.

I am a butterfly hunter.

No fluttering, paint-splattered winged insect can escape my net. I am as accurate with my tool of choice as any of those so called big game hunters are with theirs.

And I have the collection to prove it.

Only I don't settle for heads or tusks or teeth like they do. I bring my prey home whole. Alive, even, in most cases. Let's see them do that with their elephants or lions or gorillas or whatevers. I think not.

And they take themselves so seriously. Act as though they are better than me. How many of their targets have they managed to land in their lifetimes? One? Maybe two or three? I certainly haven't met any that have surpassed ten.

Me? I count them by the hundreds. I have filled mansions with my butterflies. Mansions. Let me see any of them accomplish that.

I think not.


Greg said...

The strawberries must be ripening fast if you didn't think they could wait till tomorrow! It does sound like a busy day.
Your hunter's ego is fantastic, though I am a little worried about these mansions filled with butterflies... there's a worrying whiff of madness here. I particularly like his description of the butterflies, and the slightly dismissive way he talks about them -- there's a deeper backstory here, clearly!

The butterfly catcher
The village was largely huts clustered loosely around a central circle. The grass there was short and yellowed, patchy in places where people walked most or stood around when they had to talk. There were three firepits, located closely together and surrounded neatly by large, flat white stones. A fire burned in one of them, low and orange, while the other two had been cleared of soot and cinders and dry wood stacked there ready for the evening. Two elderly women sat back on their heels, squatting and shredding a pile of fibrous roots into a pile of fibrous strands, and a little way off two girls laboured under the weight of leather buckets filled from the river.
The village was essentially two concentric circles; behind the first set of huts were the smaller, shabbier huts of latecomers or the newly independent. A little way back beyond them, close to where the jungle thickened into claustrophobic density, there was another circle where the grass was short and yellow.
Isabella Bonfontaine was wearing a taupe leather jacket that was rather too hot, but rather too valuable here to take off and leave behind her. She wiped a hand across her forehead, trying to move the sweat around rather than remove it, and waited. In the middle of the grass circle she'd laid out the body of the tribesman. He was one of three left behind after a failed raid two days ago: the villagers were still discussing amongst themselves why they were only able to find two bodies when they went looking. A cloud passed across the sun briefly, the light dimming and then brightening again.
There was a whickering sound like an electric fan spinning slowly and rocking on its central bearing, and a splodge of black weaved through the air above the body. Isabella blinked, making sure it wasn't just a floater in her vision. For a moment the splodge seemed undecided, then it settled on the body. Seconds passed, and she could feel her heart pounding in her chest; her breath was suddenly short. Then the splodge lifted off, danced in the air, and settled again.
Less than five minutes later the body was covered in the black butterflies, each drinking the nectar of decomposition, and Isabella's fingers twitched on the weighted throwign net she held. One black butterfly would fetch a fortune from her client: this opportunity to capture a dozen was not to be missed.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks! I quite enjoyed writing this one. Perhaps I shall have to revisit him and his collection sometime.

A dark, fascinating little tale here. Isabella does find herself in the most intriguing scenarios, doesn't she?

Also: I was pretty sure that dead body was about to come back to life. I am trying not to be disappointed by this :P